The most crucial thing to know if you have been contacted by police is that it is absolutely imperative to seek legal counsel before giving any statement to law enforcement. This is because when officers are conducting an investigation on possible criminal charges, there are loopholes that enable them to try and extract information from you without your knowledge.
There is a misconception that when a police report is filed, the individual who filed the report can choose when to press charges or that they are able to drop charges if they choose. This is unfortunately not true.
In California, as in all states across the country, once a criminal report is made it is entirely out of the hands of the person who filed it. It becomes a matter concerning the accused individual and the laws of the state of California, which are upheld by the criminal justice system. This means that once the police have been alerted to the possibility of criminal activity, they conduct an investigation to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring charges to the accused.
When law enforcement officers conduct these investigations, they may explain that you are not being held under arrest and that you are free to go whenever you want. This is a way around giving you a Miranda warning, or as it’s more commonly known, reading you your rights.
If you are not being detained or under arrest, the police are not legally required to inform you of your rights in the situation: that you have the right to remain silent, that anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law, that you have the right to an attorney, etc. This can create a false sense of ease in the person they are interrogating, and lead to a person speaking freely and incriminating themselves without knowing what they are doing.
If you do speak to law enforcement, which is not advisable, be certain not to lie about any detail during the conversation -- law enforcement officers are trained to pick up on inconsistencies in a story and will use those inconsistencies against you whenever possible.
Contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney can speak with you in a consultation to determine the nature of your case and go before you to law enforcement in order to gain scope of the situation at hand. This is the best possible way to protect yourself and your rights when contacted by the police.